REEF CUTTLEFISH
Sepia latimanus

Habitat: Reef cuttlefish typically are found on shallow reefs.

Average adult size: Adults can grow to be 1 1/2 feet long.

Natural history: Reef cuttlefish are in the same class as the squid and octopus. "Cephalopod" means "head-foot." They have two basic body parts, the head and a modified foot of arms or tentacles. Cuttlefish have 10 tentacles that surround the mouth. They also have a flat bone in their bodies that washes up on the beach and is sold as cuttlebone in pet stores. Cuttlefish can confuse their enemies by squirting out a cloud of ink. This smoke screen comes from a siphon under their head. The same siphon allows the cuttlefish to be jet-propelled. In an emergency, a cuttlefish can squirt a jet of water out of its siphon to escape. Cuttlefish blend in perfectly with the reef by changing the color and texture of their skin to match their surroundings. They feed on small reef fishes with lightning-fast strikes of their tentacles. Cuttlefish inject venom to paralyze their prey. Most cephalopods only live a short life, from one to three years.

Range: Found from Australia to the Red Sea.


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